NZ software developed to analyse customers

Video imaging software designed in New Zealand is giving American casino, mall and shop managers a better picture of those who buy and those who simply look.

Video imaging software designed in New Zealand is giving American casino, mall and shop managers a better picture of those who buy and those who simply look.

The pedestrian-tracking program, combined with retail performance analysis software, has been developed by Auckland development house Reveal.

Reveal director Rozanne Corrick says many storekeepers don't know enough about who is buying, who is browsing and when. Instead, they use guesswork. If they have the right information, says Corrick, retailers can plan and improve their customer responses. For example, by having more staff on at busy times.

Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology - aided Reveal's production of a software program to help retailers analyse their customers. The program was then verified at a New Zealand shopping centre, which found conversion rates [people buying compared with those entering the shops] ranged from 3.3% to 6.8%.

"That convinced the retailers of the value and necessity of such information, and they changed their operations significantly," says Corrick.

The system uses video cameras that are installed at the entrance or entrances of a business. The system server, which is usually located at the store's head office, dials out regularly to pick up the pedestrian counts. These counts are then integrated with point-of-sale information on the server.

Management reports are then available via a Web browser. The reports cover traffic, store visits, transactions, conversion rate,average sale, total sales and dollar-per-store-visitor figures.

Corrick says Reveal has systems operating in 20 US sites, including the Paris Casino in Las Vegas, while the company recently completed an outdoor trial in conjunction with its American distributor at Disney World in Florida.

A distributor in Australia is also promoting the product to retail chains and shopping centres and talks are under way with potential distributors in Malaysia and Europe.

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